By Lin Jiabin, DRC
The Outline of the National Territory Planning (2016-2030) has been published recently by the State Council. It is China’s first strategic and comprehensive major planning on territorial development and protection, and plays a guiding role for regulating and controlling various activities involving land development, protection and consolidation.
First, the Outline emphasizes the ecological civilization concept of respecting, conforming to, and protecting the nature. It proposes that the spatial focus of land development should be centered on the main transport routes and the comprehensive transportation network.
Second, the Outline will be essential in alleviating the conflicts between people and land, promoting the overall, coordinated and green development. 1. The Outline points out that we should hold on to the bottom line of 18 million mu (15 mu make one hectare) of farming land to maintain the basic self-sufficiency of grain as well as to protect the nation's food security. 2. The Outline suggests that strict control should be imposed over the construction land for new projects, as well as over the disorderly expansion of new urban areas, districts and development zones. Despite government regulations and prohibitions, the massive upsurge for land enclosure still prevails. The effective solution to this problem depends on the mechanism reform of the relevant bodies and institutions, whereas the administrative order alone could hardly work. 3. The improvement of effective industrial layout and population arrangement are expected to be achieved through the concerted efforts with multiple measures.
Third, it is difficult to push forward the process of helping the eligible farmers to move away from agriculture and become urban residents and those farmers who have settled down in cities and found jobs could not enjoy their due rights including the rights as urban residents, the rights as laborers and the rights over land property.
Fourth, to effectively help farmers to become urban residents, efforts need to be made in light of the absence of migrant workers’ rights in the aforementioned facts. Stable labor relations should be built to prompt the urbanization of migrant workers. In addition, supporting reforms of the rural land property rights system need to be in place.